My love affair with the Netherlands started 6 years ago, when I went to Europe from Australia for the first time – on a Contiki tour! My first stop was Amsterdam, before Berlin, Prague, Rome, Florence, Venice, and London. I can remember immediately liking Amsterdam, and that it was much more beautiful than I had imagined! My time was short, with a whirlwind 2 days participating in super touristy activities from riding bikes in Edam, visiting a Clog maker, eating cheese, sampling Heineken and sampling more Heineken in the Red Light District. After these 2 days in Holland, where I also ate the best fries in a cone of my life, I hoped in the future I could return for another much calmer visit.
Fast Forward to 2014. I had moved to London a year earlier to work and travel Europe on my weekends. On my first bigger trip (6 days in Morocco) with friends, I was fortunate enough to meet 2 lovely Dutch blokes over breakfast in my hostel. As hostels are the easiest places in the world to make friends (even if only for a day), my group of 4 friends and the 2 Dutch blokes decided to hang out for the day and sight-see Marrakech.
By dinner time that day, one of the Dutch blokes and I had become quite friendly and it was here, in the Jemaa el-Fnaa night market, that I realised I’d be going to Amsterdam again very soon!
And so 3 months later I flew to Amsterdam to visit my new Dutch friend and love blossomed. We embarked on a long-distance relationship between London and Amsterdam, exploring each-others cities on our weekends, or meeting up in new European cities in order to travel and see each other at the same time. Many of these travels feature on my travel blog Everywhere Bucket List.
Eventually, the discussions came about “Where are WE going to live?”. With my parents in Australia and his so close in Amsterdam, we made the decision that I would move to The Netherlands, where I didn’t speak the language, or have a job, or friends. Sounds like a good idea right?!
Well, it was the best idea ever! I love exploring my new city, and finding ways to feel at home even though things are more foreign to me here than in London. I love riding my bicycle to get around and enjoy how funny it still is to me when my bike is loaded up with groceries, plants, and even pots and pans! I have fallen into a deep love with Bitterballen that not even my fiercest new year’s resolutions can tame, and I’ve become part of a Dutch family that welcomes me into all of the interesting and quirky Dutch traditions.
I miss Australian weather and the ease of watching any television station and know what is going on immediately. Being able to pick up a newspaper, and listen to the radio djs discussing newsworthy topics (I’m taking more Dutch lessons soon though!). And I miss my family. We keep in touch regularly via whatsapp and we have a Skype date every Sunday, which keeps me connected so I don’t feel as far away as I am.
My Dutchie and I also live quite close to Drovers Dog – the Australian café – so when I’m feeling particularly needy for a dose of Aussie food and an accent, we head there for brunch and see if we can score a homemade lamington!
I don’t know what is to come for us or where we will settle down and have a family. We both enjoy living in Europe and having taken my Dutchie down to Australia last Christmas – he likes it there too! With positives and negatives for both places, I think that when the time comes to really decide where we will end up – that is not going to be easy! I love living in The Netherlands and feel privileged to be able to call it my home, and also call Australia home! Being in a two-nationality relationship gives us Australia and Holland as both of our homes forever, and I am alright with that!